The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has pledged to prioritise resource efficiency in the business sector as part of its latest strategy.
One Planet Prosperity – Our Regulatory Strategy outlines the regulator’s approach to delivering environmental protection and improvement, which it says will create health benefits and sustainable economic growth.
It says a key element of the strategy is to encourage and support businesses that go beyond standard levels of environmental compliance.
The agency will develop regulatory tools to deliver the strategy, using powers granted by the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act in 2014, such as the ability to issue fixed and variable monetary penalties.
Terry A’Hearn (above), chief executive, said: “Under this strategy, Sepa will make two key contributions to making Scotland stronger. First, we will more quickly and powerfully get all Scottish businesses meeting the environmental laws in Scotland.
“Second, we will help as many Scottish businesses as possible to go even further, helping them find profitable ways to go beyond what the law requires in reducing their use of energy, water and materials and the amount of waste they produce.
“By identifying where individual businesses and industry can go beyond compliance, Scotland has the unique opportunity to set the trend on a global scale. There are huge economic incentives for going beyond basic compliance.
“Especially as pressure on our current resources becomes greater, it will ultimately be businesses that are more sustainable that will continue to thrive, helping to create more lasting and inclusive growth in Scotland.”
Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham (below) said: “Sepa and the Scottish Government, alongside key stakeholders, are working hard to develop a better environmental regulation programme.
“This aims to maximise environmental protection while ensuring proportionate and consistent regulation and effective enforcement. Sepa’s regulatory strategy is an important part of the implementation of this work.
“It sets out how, as a 21st century regulator, it is engaging to deliver compliance and maximise contribution to our communities, a dynamic economy and Scotland’s ambitious climate change agenda.”